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Caring for our captive bred seahorses 

We would like to thank you for purchasing our Irish bred seahorses and welcome you to our global effort at conserving these unique creatures. Seahorse populations around the world are under threat from over collection for the traditional Chinese medicine market and the aquarium trade. By purchasing these captive bred seahorses, you can enjoy the experience of keeping these remarkable creatures in your own home without contributing to their exploitation in the wild.

We are dedicated to providing happy, healthy seahorses for your aquarium. If you have any problems, concerns or interesting observations regarding the keeping of your seahorses, please contact us via e-mail info@seahorseaquariums.com or our website www.seahorseaquariums.com. The following information will help you provide the best possible care for your seahorses.


About your seahorses

The seahorses supplied to you have been born in captivity at our Dublin hatchery facility and are used to a diet of frozen shrimp. They are part of an ongoing conservation project that will make the future of seahorses more secure in the wild. Seahorse Aquariums currently breed the Brazilian seahorse (Hippocampus reidi) and the Common seahorse (Hippocampus kuda) to name a few. Both of these species are found in tropical water and have the same care requirements.

Tank positioning
  • Don’t place your tank next to the television or loud music as it is surprising how quickly sound travels through water.
  • Place the tank out of draughts; draughts affect the temperature of the tank, often rapidly.
  • Do not place the tank in direct sun light as this heats the water to unbearable levels and algae will grow rapidly all over the tank.

Acclimation

Firstly check your basic water quality parameters are within acceptable rang which are;

  • Temperature range: 24oC – 28oC (Optimum 25°C – 26°C)
  • Salinity 30ppt – 35ppt  (Optimum 32ppt – 33ppt)
Acclimate your seahorses slowly but do not take more than 30 minutes to complete the following procedure;
  1. Open your box away from any bright lights.
  2. Turn off the aquarium lights.
  3. Float the bag in your tank for about 10 minutes to equalise the temperature.
  4. Partially open the bag and add 1 cup of water.
  5. Wait 10 minutes.
  6. Remove 1 cup of water and add another cup of water from the tank.
  7. Wait 10 minutes.
  8. Repeat this procedure again.
  9. Gently use your hand to transfer the seahorses into the tank, discarding the water left in the bag.
  10. Do not feed your seahorses for 24 hours after they arrive as they have been on long journey and need some time to adjust to their new home.

Handling

 Your seahorses have an armour-plated body, which makes them very easy to handle. Simply grasp them gently between finger and thumb and anywhere between the head and the tail. This is preferable to using a net as they easily become tangled in the mesh. You can lift them out of the water to move them but don’t leave them too long. As your seahorses get used to you, they will wrap their tails around your submerged finger during feeding. They have a strong grip so take care when disengaging them.

Temperature and Salinity

In the ocean your tropical seahorses are found in waters of around 25oC – 26oC and salinity of 32ppt – 33ppt. You should maintain the aquarium water as close to these figures as possible, however, anything between 24oC – 28oC and 30ppt – 35ppt will suffice.

Important Note: Rapid changes in temperature in a short time and salinity levels outside the above range are one of the major causes of poor health in seahorses. Therefore we would encourage you to check the temperature and salinity on a daily basis.

How to use a Hydrometer – Salinity Tester

  1. Rinse Hydrometer with fresh water before using.
  2. Sink the hydrometer in the water and fill until the water flows up and over the inner weir.
  3. Dislodge air bubbles by tapping hydrometer with finger or gently with a pointer, e.g. pencil.
  4. Placing hydrometer on a level surface, read specific gravity (inside scale) and ppt (outside scale).
  5. Rinse hydrometer with freshwater before storing.
  6. To clean, soak hydrometer in vinegar for 30 minutes periodically.

Feeding

Seahorses have a formidable appetite, they suck their food through their elongated snouts that they use to probe into nooks and crannies to find the shrimp that make up their diet. The suction through the seahorses snout is very powerful and this disintegrates the shrimp, which is ideal, as the seahorse has no teeth to chew their food with.

Often parts of the shrimp are expelled through the gills making it look as though they have smoke coming out of them. This could have given rise to the origin of Dragons; the ancient manuscripts showing dragons looking very similar to seahorses.

Feeding your seahorses can be very entertaining as you watch them wrestle each other with their prehensile tails to reach the food as it floats past. Your seahorses will snap up their food as it sinks in the water and will also learn to eat out of your hand once the food is under the water. They will clean up the food that sinks to the bottom however, do not allow large quantities of food to sit on the bottom as it will quickly decompose and affect water quality or the health of any seahorse who returns later for a snack. By adding the food slowly, you will ensure that most of the food is eaten while it sinks. By counting how many shrimp your seahorse eats at each meal you can adjust your feeding rate accordingly.

Seahorses have no true stomach and so must eat little and often, therefore we recommend that they are fed at least twice per day, once in the morning and once again in the afternoon / evening. If you feed in excess of their requirements, you run the risk of killing your seahorses. Our seahorses are fed exclusively on frozen mysis shrimp which are available from Seahorse Aquariums.


To feed them; 
  • Firstly remove one cube from the blister pack and cut it in half; replace the packet of food in the freezer immediately after use. 
  • Place the food in a tea strainer and defrost it under a gently running tap, taking care not to beak it up with high water pressure. 
  • Spray a little of Seahorse Aquariums multi-vitamin preparation on the food while gently mixing the food. Note; Please note that this step is only carried out twice a week, all other times feed the thawed shrimp without adding the vitamins.
  • A tweezers or a spoon can then be used to place small quantities of food into the tank. If you are careful to always add the food at the same place, your seahorses will soon learn to be at that spot when the food arrives.

Weekly / daily maintenance
  • Algae  
    • Regular cleaning of the algae and “keeping on top” of its growth is one of the secrets to maintaining a clean aquarium. 
    • Light is one of the main causes of algae so minimise their use. Remember that the fish do not need the lights and are really for you to enjoy your fish so it is best to turn them off when you are not at home.
    • Clean the inside of the glass of algae / dirt every other day if possible with the enclosed cleaning magnet.
    • For the back of the tank or tough algae, use the enclosed algae scraper.
  • Corals / Plants
    • The corals and / or plants can be removed when they are dirty, being careful not to disturb your seahorses too much and make sure to leave the living rock in the aquarium.
    • The corals / plants can be lightly cleaned with hot water and toothbrush (just use the toothbrush for this purpose) or soaked overnight in a Milton solution (1 cap / 5 litres )
  • Water Change – 
    • To ensure the continued health of your seahorses, you will need to change 10% of your water every 2 weeks for the first 2 months and once a month after that. 
    • We advise you to purchase a small bucket (10litres) and keep it strictly for your water changes without ever adding soap or detergents to it.
    • Before commencing your water change, wash your hands in warm tap water only.
    • Disconnect power to the aquarium.
    • Clean the algae as described above.
    • Siphon 10% of the tank water by using the substrate vacuum pump as follows;
    • Insert the sand washer in the aquarium and move rapidly up and down to start the siphon.
    • Work gravel tube so a continuous flow of sand is picked up and returned to the bottom whilst siphoning, moving to new areas as the water changes from cloudy to clear.
    • Be careful not to remove any of the sand during this process.
    • Rinse out pre-filters and filter media, using aquarium water in bucket only.
    • Empty the bucket and fill with warm tap water for the water change, the same temperature as your tank water (use thermometer included). Add Aqua safe and the required amount of salt (320gramms / 10 litres) and mix well.
    • Prior to adding the new water to your tank, use your hydrometer to measure the salinity in your tank water. If your salinity in your tank is higher than the specified levels (30ppt – 35ppt), then add a more dilute solution of new salt water. If the salinity in your tank is lower than the specified levels, add a slightly more concentrated solution of salt water. Before measuring the salinity of your new water, ensure that all of the salt in the bucket has fully dissolved.
    • Very gradually add the replacement water to the aquarium by pouring from the bucket or better still use a jug to slowly pour it in with.
    • Once the tank is refilled make sure that that the power is back on and that the lights, heater and pumps are working properly.
    • The last job is to clean the outside of the glass with a soft cloth and glass cleaner whilst the lid is closed.

Choosing safe tank mates

At Seahorse Aquariums we specialise in breeding and supplying creatures that can be kept together in perfect harmony. A list of all our available fish can be viewed at www.seahorseaquariums.com Please remember that under stocking is ALWAYS better than overstocking. Always! Rather than risk overcrowding an established tank, consider starting up a new aquarium when the urge to acquire many new fish becomes overwhelming.

Sex & reproduction

Seahorses are the only animal in the world that the male gives birth. He is the ideal partner as not only does he go through the full pains of childbirth and remains faithful for life but he dances around his partner every morning of their lives. However, breeding seahorses is extremely difficult and we strongly recommend that you purchase seahorses of one sex only for your aquarium to avoid disappointment.

Health

Your seahorses have been bred by us at Seahorse Aquariums to be in the best of health. They are checked by our marine biologist before shipping to ensure that they are in full health. 

Seahorses are quite lazy by their nature and often spend their time sitting and waiting, so a seahorse that is constantly swimming around is not a happy seahorse – this should not be confused with a seahorse looking for food or a seahorse that has just been introduced into your tank which is settling down. The best signs that a seahorse is unwell are when the seahorses are swimming around erratically or not showing the slightest interest in food. If at any stage you feel you have a problem, please do not hesitate to contact Seahorse Aquariums at info@seahorseaquariums.com 


We hope that this information answers most of your questions. In addition there are plenty of websites devoted to seahorses and their care, some of which are included below.
www.seahorseaquariums.com
www.seahorse.org
www.theseahorsetrust.co.uk


We wish you every continued success in your own seahorse adventure and hope that they provide you with many years of enjoyment.

Kind Regards from all at Seahorse Aquariums




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